Many people wonder how professional eaters are able to eat so much food in one sitting, but the number one question spectators always ask when watching a major competitive eating event is definitely, “How do they eat so fast?” It’s definitely a question that beginner and amateur eaters want to find out as well so that they can improve their skills and do better in all of their upcoming competitions. It is an unarguable fact that the two most important characteristics you must possess to be a successful competitive eater are a very high stomach capacity and very fast eating speed. Many good eaters can do either one or the other well, but only a select few can actually eat a lot of food really quickly. For example, there are some eaters who do great during contests only lasting a few short minutes, but they cannot do very well in longer competitions because they don’t have enough stomach capacity to maintain their quick eating speed for very long. Then there are other guys/girls who don’t really do that well in any shorter competitions, but they can do well in the longer contests because they are able to eventually surpass the quicker eaters with low stomach capacity. The “rabbit” can win quick sprints, but the “tortoise” wins many of the longer marathons!! We want YOU to be versatile and able to win BOTH!!

In the competitive eating world, shorter eating contests are referred to as “sprints” which rely heavily on eating speed rather than stomach capacity. Longer contests (over 8 minutes long) are considered “marathons” which rely heavily on speed as well, but even more so on stomach capacity. There are tons of articles throughout this TIPS category to help you increase your stomach capacity and become more competitive during marathons, if you haven’t checked them out already. You especially must read the articles throughout our Stomach Capacity Training section. Specifically if you are interested in winning eating contests, read How To Train For An Eating Contest. With all that said, this article will help you dominate the sprints, along with those longer contests.

Before continuing, please make sure you’ve read How To Increase Your Jaw Strength and How To Train Yourself To Eat Food Faster. Those articles will help during your training period beforehand (they will also be referred back to multiple times) so that you can use the following tips to eat faster during your actual competitions:

1. Keep your head up – As mentioned in How To Train Yourself To Eat Food Faster, holding your head up with your neck extended keeps your throat open so that it is easier to swallow both food and water as you transfer it from your mouth to your esophagus which then moves everything into your stomach. You will never see any of the top competitive eaters with their head down, except when grabbing more food or liquid to consume. Try it right now, swallowing with your head up versus with your head down. Swallowing with your head up is much easier right? Please note that we don’t mean your head and eyes should be up looking at the ceiling or sky, but know that you may need to tilt your head back every now and then to swallow the larger bites. Just make sure your head isn’t facing downward to a point where your chin is almost touching your chest. That’ll make swallowing difficult!

2. Take many small bites rather than a few large ones – The term “speed eating” basically means “swallowing faster,” and most definitely not “chewing faster.” If you want to consume food quicker, then you must focus on swallowing quicker so you can move on to eating more food. In a sense, to be a successful speed eater you must view chewing your food as a big waste of time. While you are chewing your food, somebody else is swallowing their food and moving on to taking more bites, and they will obviously beat you as long as they continue that faster pace. The reason that people even need to chew is because a particular bite they took is too big for them to be able to swallow naturally. Therefore, the teeth are used to mechanically break and grind the food down into more manageable pieces, making them easier to swallow. If you want to swallow faster and chew less, then you must take many smaller bites which don’t require much chewing, rather than taking a few big bites which do require significantly more chewing. Doing this will also keep your jaw from getting tired later on in the contest. Let your teeth do the majority of their work while biting into the food, & not while the bites are in your mouth.

NOTE: A few people have mentioned to me, in response to tip #2, that when they watch videos of professional eaters like Matt “Megatoad” Stonie, Pat “Deep Dish” Bertoletti, and Molly Schuyler, they see them taking big bites rather than smaller ones. This is because those individuals are three of the top professional competitive eaters in the world, and they have totally mastered the ability to relax their throat enough to swallow basically “whatever is in their mouth.” If in doubt, just watch Pat chug 50 raw eggs in less than 12 seconds. Because of their ability to do that, they don’t need to worry about taking the smaller bites that you and I should take. One thing to remember when watching videos of them and other outstanding eaters, such as Takeru Kobayashi, is that they didn’t start out their “eating career” being able to eat like that. They started with smaller bites too, since Elite Eaters Are Made Not Born. Use them as extra motivation to continue improving and eating faster!!

3. Focus on swallowing quicker – We teach you how to train yourself to swallow more at one time in our How To Train Yourself To Eat Food Faster article. Put that training to use and actually focus on swallowing quicker while you are eating. Don’t get out of control though, risking the possibility of choking, and always have plenty of liquid nearby for when you need it. If you really Critique Yourself So That You Can Improve, you will realize that there are times when you are chewing even though you really don’t need to. The act of “chipmunking” in the competitive eating world refers to filling your mouth so completely full with food that your cheeks bulge out and make you look like a chipmunk (hence the term). This especially happens during the last few seconds of an eating contest, since eaters typically are allowed around thirty seconds once time expires to finish and swallow all the food still remaining in their mouth. The food is basically sitting there waiting to be chewed and finally swallowed. There are many eaters who unknowingly do this later on in competitions once they begin feeling full. They are “chewing just because their body really doesn’t want to swallow it.” Speed eating is all about getting the food into your stomach and not storing it in the side of your cheeks, so you must focus on not chipmunking during your competitions. Swallow the food as quickly as you possibly can and only chew if you really need to.

4. Concentrate on chewing harder/faster – We teach you how to increase your jaw strength AND endurance in our How To Increase Your Jaw Strength article. Focus on putting that training to use during your competitions!! We may preach that you must be swallowing rather than chewing, but chewing is definitely a necessity that you will be doing throughout the competition. Chomp down harder when taking those many smaller bites and then chew faster while getting the food that’s already in your mouth ready to be swallowed. Again, if you Critique Yourself So That You Can Improve, you will find sometimes that you are just chewing at a normal speed without even really thinking about it. Focus on chewing harder and faster all the time, since you won’t eat faster if you aren’t really trying to. Even towards the end when you are really feeling full, fight to keep on chewing hard!! Please note though that there may be some foods encountered which you really don’t need to chew much at all, such as baked/black beans, ice cream, cottage cheese, and most Mexican food items. Those and other items are either creamy or ground up to a point where there is no real need to chew it into smaller bites (you can’t chew pudding). While eating those items, focus on swallowing quickly and don’t really focus on any chewing at all.

5. Practice! Practice!! Practice!!! – Russian physician and author Anton Chekhov once stated, “Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” Then there is Vince Lombardi’s quote stating, “Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.” Both of these quotes are very true, so now use the four tips above and practice whenever possible (except on a first, second, or even sometimes third date!!). Keep on improving and constantly getting faster with each competition you enter, whether it be a food challenge or an eating contest. You will improve at an even faster rate if you follow the tips throughout Critique The Eating Contest And Improve, and you’ll of course be able to eat a particular food faster if you know which perfect technique(s) to use. For help with that, be sure to read both How To Speed Eat Various Eating Contest Foods and How To Lose A Competitive Eating Contest. You also may find some helpful tips throughout the articles in our STRATEGIES category. You won’t get better unless you continually practice (perfect practice!!) and train, so do that while remembering that all individuals improve at a different pace, depending on many factors such as effort, training techniques used, genetics, and amount of room for improvement. Do not get upset if your friend improves at a faster rate than you. Keep on putting in the effort using all the tips throughout this article, and your speed and eating skills will continue to improve. If no contests are coming up, try setting a few food challenge records!!

Those five tips, combined with all the related advice throughout the many articles linked above, will most definitely help you become a faster eater during future competitions. To conclude this article, I’d like you to watch this video and see all of these tips put perfectly into action. This is competitive eater Molly Schuyler taking on The Big Fat Fatty Sandwich Challenge at Fat Sal’s Deli which has multiple locations in California, USA. It was absolutely massive!! This video was filmed with a vertical smart phone, and isn’t the easiest video to watch either, but it’s from a side view angle which shows all of Molly’s eating motions & movements the entire time. Watch as she keeps her head up throughout the challenge and hardly ever spends much time chewing. She even jolts her head back every now and then to swallow all the larger bites. Not only is her stomach capacity completely ridiculous, but she is definitely one of the fastest eaters you will ever meet or watch. You will notice her taking pretty large bites rather than many smaller ones, but that is because she is able to swallow larger bites of food, unlike all “beginners” who need to stick to smaller bites at first. She also keeps her drinking cup near her throughout the challenge, which we talk more about in The Use Of Liquids During Eating Contests. Before moving on to another article, and even before you try any of the tips above, watch this video and see what true speed eating looks like. Congratulations Molly (her Facebook page) on setting a new time record!!

NOTE: Please BE CAREFUL and use all possible safety precautions while participating in all types of competitive eating related training and events. As mentioned in The Dangers Of Competitive Eating, there is always some level of choking risk when there is food present, whether you are involved with a competitive eating related event or just eating a normal meal with your family. BE CAREFUL while doing any type of training or practice to improve your eating speed or stomach capacity, as recommended in How To Train Yourself To Eat Food Faster.

Thanks for reading “Speed Eating: How To Eat Food Faster” and using!!

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